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Bristol Lido - A Solar Hot Spot

Bristol Lido, the oldest lido in the country, has been transformed into a model of energy efficiency following a two-year restoration. The complex, including a 24-metre open-air swimming pool, now features Thermomax, one of the highest performing solar thermal collectors in the world, which generate up to 70 per cent of the lido's annual hot water needs. They are also responsible for simultaneously reducing energy bills as well as the overall carbon footprint of the establishment.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Bristol Lido specified 720 Kingspan Solar Thermomax HP200 vacuum tubes, which cover 80 square metres of the south-facing roof.

Arne Ringer, owner of the 150-year-old Grade II listed Lido, is a great believer in conservation and wanted to find a way to heat the vast amount of water used at the lido without relying on expensive, carbon fuel resources. He comments: "We conducted a great deal of research into sustainable energy options ahead of the restoration and the Kingspan Solar Thermomax vacuum tube collectors were the obvious answer. They tick all the boxes and far surpass the competition in terms of delivering premium performance matched with financial benefits.

"Heating a large outdoor pool requires a sizeable amount of energy, and is both financially and environmentally a very costly affair. The solar collectors allow us to heat our water cost-effectively, whilst helping reduce carbon emissions in the process."

The Bristol Lido installation was undertaken by local specialist solar heating installer Solarsense. Stephen Barrett, MD of Solarsense, comments: "The Bristol Lido installation is one of the biggest in the South of England and the perfect example of how to reduce your carbon footprint and hot water costs without compromising on performance. Its 720 solar tubes generate a massive amount of energy, heating three 500-litre cylinders, for showering, as well as the 24-metre swimming pool. "Over the past 16 years we have installed over 40,000 Kingspan Solar Thermomax tubes and they continue to lead the market in terms of efficiency. We're proud to be playing a part in creating a more sustainable future."

As well as refurbishing the swimming pool, the restored Victorian lido now has three brand new features including a restaurant, spa and poolside bar. Its newly installed solar tube vacuum systems were not the only energy efficient addition. The kitchen boasts an Italian wood-fired oven; ambient heat pumps create additional heat by extracting and redistributing warm air from the restaurant, café and kitchen; and wall-to-ceiling glass doors reduce heat loss.

Solarsense specialises in solar heating systems and has coordinated some of the largest solar panel installations in the UK. It is now the leading PV installer in the South West and one of the few UK companies to install dual solar thermal and PV systems.

Bristol Lido reopened its doors to over 1000 members in November 2008 having undergone a major refurbishment, which saw the addition of three brand new features, namely the restaurant, poolside bar and spa. The complex combines the lido's original 1850 Victorian grandeur with state of the art renewable solar technology.

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Bristol Lido

Bristol Lido, the oldest lido in the country, has been transformed into a model of energy efficiency.